Following in the footsteps of many an oil major in recent times, Vitol has announced, together with privately-owned investment company, Low Carbon, that it will invest in European renewable energy projects.
Via the Jersey-based VLC Renewables, the two will invest primarily in wind projects. A spokesperson for Vitol added that the focus will be on large off-shore wind, while solar is not yet a priority. The reason for this is scale, they said.
However, with a nod to solar, perhaps indicating that it could play a role in the future, Simon Hale, Investments at Vitol commented, “By 2025 almost 27% of European electricity will be generated from wind and solar. As a major participant in Europe’s power markets and as a significant investor in energy infrastructure worldwide, Vitol is keen to build a portfolio of renewable investments to complement its existing activities.”
Low Carbon is active in the solar industry, having funded over 320 MW of projects in the U.K. alone. Furthermore, in January, VLC Energy, a joint venture between Low Carbon and VPI Immingham, also part of Vitol, completed the commissioning of a 50 MW energy storage project in the U.K. together with NEC Energy Solutions.
Oil goes solar
A slew of announcements have been made recently by oil giants around the globe, as they rush to take advantage of the clear opportunities being brought to the table by renewables and, in particular, solar.
- U.S.-based MMEX Resources, which has this month begun negotiations for additional acreage at the site of its distillation plant and refinery to add 75-100 MW of solar power.
- Spanish oil giant, Repsol, which announced in May that it would be focusing more on renewables, although it still considers gas one of the main pillars of the energy transition.
- Norway’s oil producer, Statoil, which eyed its first investments in solar in May.
- Total and BP, which announced in March that they will enter the Australian large-scale solar segment.
- Saudi Arabia and Japan-based SoftBank, which signed an incredible 200 GW solar MOU, in March.
- Hungary’s oil and gas provider, MOL, which entered the solar business also in March, stating it would initially build solar facilities at three of its main industrial sites in Hungary, on currently unused areas.
- Shell, which has been upping its solar ante of late, having announced in January the purchase of a 44% stake in U.S.-based Silicon Ranch. It has also said it will develop a 20 MW solar PV project in the Netherlands, acquire the U.K.’s largest independent energy company, First Utility, install 250 MW in Australia, and invest in Singapore’s Sunseap.
- BP, which returned to PV in December with a $200 million investment in Lightsource.